Medicine may be one of the most expressive examples of how society has progressed and improved over time. Doctors have done a lot of crazy and down right dangerous things in the attempt to heal people, whether their malady is real or perceived. When I asked a doctor friend "at what point in history was visiting a doctor more likely to help the patient than harm?" he didn't have to think hard. He immediately replied: with the invention of penicillin.
After days on the road, it's time for a little rest and relaxation. By that, I mean, it's time for a shower. So, tonight we are splurging on a hotel. But it's more than just a shower that we are after because this hotel is along the French Quarter of New Orleans. Tonight, we will wander down Bourbon Street, delight in delicacies, and swoon to the music of the Big Easy.
It has only been a few, cloudy days from Nashville to Natchez, but here we are. The Natchez Parkway ends just outside of Natchez, Mississippi but we continue through town for our first view of the Mississippi River. At the shore line, we meditate on tradition, history, and natural wonders along the Natchez Trace. We have traveled the entirety of the Natchez Trace Parkway.
Many times would see cars pulled to the side of the road. People were crouched, filling bags with items picked from the ground. This time of year, pecans are falling from the trees in Mississippi and we joined the random assortment of people along the side of the road in picking up a couple pecans for ourselves.
The Mississippian Period Mound Builders perfected their art by 1250 AD when ancestors of the Natchez tribe began to sculpt a natural hill into the second largest Pre-Columbian earthwork in the country. Named after a 19th century plantation that surrounded the ancient earthworks, Emerald Mound's history represents what might as well have been another world. The mound's base stretches 770 by 435 feet. While the main portion of the mound is 35 feet high, two secondary mounds on top of the main body elevates it another 30 feet. Here was the cultural center of this region. Chieftain and cultural leaders lived in structures on the mound. Ceremonial rights were conducted here up until 1730s. The descendants of these Mound Builders, the Natchez, continued to use the mound until the late 1730s. By then, the Natchez had moved their ceremonial center 12 miles north to the Grand Village of the Natchez.
By modern terms, the Mount Locust Inn is a modest structure with four small rooms for guests and the resident family. But in the days of the "Kaintucks" traveling along the Natchez Trace, Mount Locust Inn offered some of the finest accommodations a traveler could hope for.
As late in the fall as it may have been, leaves the color of sunshine clung to the trees. The less tenacious littered the ground. This portion of the Natchez Trace is so worn by centuries of use that it is now a deep gully. We climbed down into the ancient footpath and looked up at the walls. They rose above our heads to flatten out at the natural ground level. This is a path so tied to tradition that to walk it literally blinds you to all other directions.